Really Seeing it – The SmallHD DP6.

Hello all!

I hate tiny screens. I’m a big screen guy – I’m a cinema guy, an Imax guy. The bigger the better. So naturally, I’m not a huge fan of the little LCD on the GH2. I mean, I love that it is articulated, and though its low res, the moire actually can sometimes help you nail focus, a bit like peaking. Nevertheless, it’s a bit too small. The answer is an off-camera monitor or EFV.

Now, I’ve only used what I own, so my experience is pretty limited. Basically, I first bought a 10.1 inch chinese monitor with a built in battery. That screen was terrible! The battery didn’t last long enough, and the screen itself was very bad – it may have been HD resolution, but it had about half the dynamic range as the on-camera LCD, making judging exposure very difficult. It WAS cheap, about $220 for the package, and I still have it (though for what I don’t know). Bottom-line: I don’t recommend cheap chinese monitors.

My next purchase, and the one that makes me very, very happy was a SmallHD DP6. This baby set me back more than my second GH2 did (About $800, used with accessories) but I don’t regret it at all. With the SmallHD battery on the back, its light weight, versatile, and most importantly it looks really good. With some tweaking, you can get its colors to match your GH2’s screen, and when you do, suddenly you’ll be really seeing your footage. Really seeing it. I feel like it unlocks my creativity just because it makes me feel like I know what I’m shooting. I have the programmable buttons on mine set to punch-in and focus assist (the new version in the latest firmware). These two tools let me nail focus really well. Focus assist works great for executing on-the-fly rack focus shots, and punch-in is the perfect focus-confirm tool. Yes the GH2 has one, but you can’t use it while shooting. With the monitor, you can do it at any time. Awesome.

In short, a SmallHD monitor is a pretty big investment, but it is SO worth it.

2 responses to “Really Seeing it – The SmallHD DP6.

  1. Jess, I totally know where you are coming from with that. I have looked at the SmallHD lineup a number of times and am always scared off by the price, just can’t justify it at this moment.
    If I were to get an external screen though, it would have to to be SmallHD. It’s just not an area that you can cheap out on. Used one while in BC shooting and MN shooting this spring, and even though I found the batteries didn’t last very long, it was so great to have there and really gives the cinema feel to it. It gives you a much better sense of what your shot will look like on the big screen instead of getting a shot that looks good on the small screen but completely different on the editing monitor or even televisions.

    • Hey Pete, what batteries where you using? The SmallHD batteries I have last about 4-6 hours. I completely agree that it gives you a much better idea of what your shot will look like on a big screen.

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